Is Dustin Johnson about to claim the 2016 golf season as his own personal domain?
It appears he will have the inside track if he can win his second major when the golfing world descends on the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, for the PGA Championship.
Johnson was spectacular in winning the U.S. Open at Oakmont in June and has had an excellent year. He ranks first on the PGA tour in FedEx Cup points and is the No. 2 golfer in the world.
The 32-year-old is the favorite to win the PGA Championship with odds of 8-1, according to Odds Shark. Johnson has a slight edge over Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, who both have odds of 9-1.
Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 but has had some difficult moments this year since losing the Masters as a result of problems on the back nine of the final round, is further back at 14-1.
Day is the defending champion, and he put on one of the best performances in major golf history when he won last year's PGA title with a score of 20 under par at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.
The 28-year-old defeated Spieth by three strokes, and his ball striking and putting were simply sensational. While Day has not won a major championship this year, he is the top-ranked player in the world.
|PGA Championship Odds|
|Dustin Johnson||8-1||Too many weapons.|
|Rory McIlroy||9-1||Can dial up the distance.|
|Jason Day||9-1||Defending champion should be tough.|
|Jordan Spieth||14-1||Will feel the pressure.|
|Henrik Stenson||14-1||Can he repeat sensational British Open performance?|
|Phil Mickelson||18-1||Has won here before.|
|Sergio Garcia||25-1||Has yet to prove he can close the deal.|
|Justin Rose||28-1||Needs to get off to sharp start.|
|Adam Scott||33-1||Has had strong year.|
|Bubba Watson||33-1||Has the game for this course.|
Jack Nicklaus won two of his U.S. Open titles at Baltusrol in 1967 and 1980, while Phil Mickelson won the 2005 PGA Championship at the New Jersey course. It's a demanding track that requires long driving and excellent course management.
It may not be enough to reach the greens at Baltusrol since the putting surfaces are large and difficult. Golfers will have to get to the proper part of the green on a consistent basis in order to have a chance.
Mickelson played sensational golf at the British Open earlier this month, and he finished second in that tournament to Henrik Stenson. Lefty comes into the PGA Championship at odds of 18-1, and he may be a strong play considering his current form and the fact he has already won at Baltusrol.
Stenson won the British Open because he was so consistent from tee to green, and he took advantage of his outstanding ball striking by making his key putts. The Swede comes into this tournament with odds of 14-1.
McIlroy has won more than $2.6 million on the tour this season, but he has not finished higher than third in any tournament. However, this could be the tournament the Northern Irishman puts it together since Baltusrol is considered a course where long and powerful driving is a must.
McIlroy gains an average of 1.227 shots off the tee, which ranks first among all golfers, according to PGATour.com.
Golf fans should not overlook Bubba Watson in this tournament. The long-hitting lefty would appear to be somewhat overlooked by the betting public, since he comes into the tournament with odds of 33-1.
However, Watson ranks 18th in FedEx Cup points and is the No. 6 golfer in the world. The Florida native has won nearly $3 million this season and has made the cut in all 13 tournaments he has played. Watson is also one of the tour's longest hitters, averaging 308.6 yards off the tee.
Matt Kuchar is another golfer who should not be underestimated, even though he comes into Baltusrol with odds of 40-1. The 38-year-old has been in good form recently having recorded two top-10 finishes in his last four events.
Kuchar is not one of the game's big bombers, as he averages 285.7 yards off the tee, but he is a relentless shot-maker, and that characteristic shows off in his scoring average of 69.674 per round. The seven-time PGA Tour winner excels at grinding out his shots, and that could pay off with a strong run at the Wanamaker Trophy.